5 Steps To Becoming A Conscious Consumer
Mindless consumerism is taking over our lives, our spirits, our families, and our pockets. We’re consuming things far beyond our means, at rates that are depleting the earth’s resources. We’re becoming trapped in the marketing ploys of companies with the most money, not the best products, and our rapidly growing society means the problem is snowballing. It’s no wonder mindfulness, consciousness, and simplicity, are the buzz words of the moment. Waking up to our impact on the world, can reap benefits far beyond protecting just the planet, and instil meaning in your life for a greater existence.
To begin your journey, follow these 5 steps to becoming a conscious consumer…
Buy only what you need, and buy what you deserve
As living, breathing, human beings, we consume to live; there’s nothing wrong with that. But the way we currently consume is thoughtless, sporadic, and damaging. It’s hard to avoid buying the latest pair of jeans when bright billboards and Facebook ads tell us we NEED them, when we have 10 pairs at home.
Before buying anything, ask yourself:
– Will I wear this 30+ times?
– Where will this end up once I’ve finished with it?
– Can I use something I already have?
– Can I borrow this from a friend instead?
Purchasing more expensive items, also means you’re more likely to care for the product, appreciate the item, and therefore have it longer in your life. Buy what you deserve. Invest in yourself and the products that you need, to reduce the time maintaining cheap products that fall apart.
Repair and reuse
Consuming to support a circular economy, is a mindful consumer’s first thought when they need something. This involves repairing a broken product, turning it into another product (upcycling), recycling it, or accepting its defeat, and purchasing a second-hand product from an ex-consumer. This mindset saves time and resources, and reduces the amount of ‘stuff’ in the world. The art of darning socks, and using old t-shirts as car cleaning rags, is not as unglamorous as you think (tips here).
When it comes to mindful consumerism, sustainable living, and eco-friendly lifestyles, we often roll our eyes and say we ‘don’t have time’. There’s no time to DIY our makeup, beauty, and cleaning products, or cook our baking from scratch. There’s no time to darn our socks or cut up our old t-shirts and use them to clean the car, and there’s certainly no time to hunt through second-hand shops for the things we need.
The rate at which we exist is the crux of our consumerism problem. When we need everything NOW, we make consumer decisions that fill temporary voids, jump to retail therapy to supress our anxiety, and confuse what we need with what we want.
Generations before us used to spend hours a day focusing on their daily needs, gathering as communities at the grocery store, and preparing slow cooked meals to nourish their bodies. Items were made to last, and parts were available for them to be fixed, not thrown out. But it’s through our fast-paced lifestyles that we’ve lost touch with our consumption, and see tasks as chores, not essential parts of life. Slowing down and only saying yes to the essential things, helps to engage with your existence, what you need to thrive, and how you can consume in the best way possible.
Disliking clutter, flourishing in simplicity, and rejoicing in clean spaces are characteristics of a mindful consumer. If you’re organised, you are less likely to purchase something without thinking first, in the hopes nothing will disturb your organised and peaceful life.
Being organised also means you stock up on things you need, so that you don’t have to buy something of a lower quality or standard when you run out. Preparing can lead to more time spent with family, instead of the shops, and instigate more experiences, rather than forced purchases.
Make the right purchases
Once you’ve repaired, reused, and don’t have any options left, make purchases that matter. Where you spend your money, is representative of the world you want to exist in. Choose fair-trade, organic, and other eco-friendly labels you can trust. Research before you buy, email companies for more information, ask for recommendations from trusted sources, and make sure you are at peace with supporting the company before you make a purchase.
We are the consumers; we have the power. Brands only exist to meet our demand, and if we direct our consumer power in the direction of companies who embody a sustainable future, we’ll force positive change to happen.
A mindful consumer has a peaceful presence, a lighter footprint on the planet, and a purposeful existence. Consuming mindfully allows your mind to be lost in adventures, rather than objects, and protects our planet for future generations to enjoy.
~ Happy Consuming ~
Photo by Peter Conlan